On January 31, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist took a wrist shot to the throat in the second period of a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Ryan McDonagh, trying to box out an opposing player, accidentally got his stick up on Lundqvist, lifting his mask, and therefore exposing his throat.
He immediately dropped down, kicking his feet as he was writhing in pain. The medical staff rushed out to tend to one of the world’s best. After a few minutes, Lundqvist felt good enough to continue in the game, which he finished, even though he was experiencing intermittent headaches and he also had difficulty breathing.
Almost every Rangers player said the word “scary” during their post-game interview. They were worried for their guy, mainly because he is the backbone of this team, leading them to a Stanley Cup Final berth back in June.
Even though a doctor told the Rangers it is a “high-risk” area of the body, the team allowed him to play in Monday’s game against the Florida Panthers, a 6-3 win. However, at the end of the game, he noticed something was wrong.
He was slated to start Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins, but that day, he was listed as unavailable, and Cam Talbot became the starter. This sent fans into a frenzy, as they panicked in a desperate search for answers.
Lundqvist’s official status was unclear for almost a week, when over the weekend, news broke that he suffered a “vascular injury” and would be out for at least three weeks, leaving Talbot to take over the reins as the main man for the Blueshirts.
Yesterday, before the game against the Dallas Stars, he came out to speak with reporters and clear things up not only for them, but also the fans, who were left in a world of uncertainty.
He has officially been diagnosed with a “sprained blood vessel”. He stated he would only be doing light cardio in the coming days and week, as he works back on the road to recovery.
It was also found out that Lundqvist could have suffered a stroke if he had played any longer, which would have had devastating impacts on his career, and certainly his long-term health.
Luckily, he went to see a specialist who noticed the real injury.
As of now, the Rangers’ superstar is on aspirin to prevent a possible blood clot.
So, life without their main man roles on for the Rangers. They currently sit in fourth place in the Metropolitan division, one point back of the Washington Capitals.
The Blueshirts embark on a four-game road trip starting tomorrow, where they will visit the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, and New York Islanders.
Here are excerpts from Henrik Lundqvist’s Presser:
Discussing how he feels: “I feel pretty good right now. The first couple days my neck was stiff. But I’m feeling a lot better now than I did…”
What happened: “So I’m playing Saturday and after the game I’m just sore. My neck is stiff, but that’s normal when you get hit … So after a lot of checkups with the doctors, we decided that I’m good to go, and I felt good to go. We practiced Monday morning, I felt pretty good, I played the game. I think after the game, end of the game and after that Monday night game, I started to have more headaches, and that’s when they made the call to have more checkups…”
Current treatment: “Just Aspirin. That’s it.”
Reason being to thin the blood?: “Yeah a little bit, and ya know, it was mixed emotions when I found out. I was really happy that the staff and the doctors working on this found it, because the consequences could have been pretty bad…”
Putting the game in perspective: “Um, you know when I sat down on Tuesday with the doctors and they kind of explained exactly what was going on and they said we’re happy we caught this, of course you start to think about as a person and as a player – what could have happened….I try not to think too much of it. I’m trying to accept I’m gonna be out for a while, and when I do that I’m gonna just calm down a little bit and now we just have to figure out the best time for me to come back – as soon as we can that it’s safe to play but also I want to make sure I’m on the top of my game when I’m ready to play.”
Recovery Time: “We’re gonna have another evaluation in about 2-3 weeks just to see how it’s healing, but I can do light cardio. No pucks. I might do some light skating in 1 or 2 weeks. I’ve also just been biking for exercise.”
Risk of stroke: “If I would keep playing, I’d run the risk of having a stroke. That’s why you have to make sure you play this safe: It’s not a sore shoulder or elbow…”
On any concerns playing through injury: “No. I wanted to play and after a few seconds when you start to slowly feel better, you know OK I just need a couple of minutes here to regroup and get my focus back. After that game I didn’t feel that bad. Like I said, sleeping that night the only problem was a really stiff neck. But after the game Monday that’s when I had some pretty tough headaches, talked to the doctors and had more checkups.”
Discussing a full recovery: “Yes. I won’t play until I’m ready to play, and it won’t be an issue moving forward after that. I’m gonna heal 100%…”
On sitting out: “It’s tough. It was very disappointing when I sat down and the doctors said we’ll have another look at it in 3, 4 weeks. I was shocked by that, but at the same time, you don’t play around with this…”
Fear at the time of injury: “I didn’t really have any fears. When you play, you have so much adrenaline. You focus to play. That’s why I stayed in, I didn’t feel that bad. I made that call after talking to the doctors…”
Discovery Process: “They did two separate scans. The first scan, most of the people that looked at it actually cleared me. They had a specialist look at it again and they found something and I had to come back for a second scan…”
On returning when ready: “You can’t take a risk with this. If it was a sore shoulder, I would probably be playing in a week or something. Here, I just have to listen to the doctors, because it’s that serious. I feel great, walking around and doing different things, but you don’t push this injury as long as it’s there. But my plan is to come back, and I’m super excited to be ready to play in the last push of the season and the playoffs.”